CFI DIRECTORS SUPPORT PROPOSAL TO RENAME GARCIA RIVER TO THE ANCESTRAL NAME P'da HAU

Please read beyond the CFI letter of support to where Sal Martinez and Isaac Rios, Tribal Historians and Cultural Advocates for the Manchester Band of Pomo Indians posit their case for the renaming the Garcia River to the Ancestral name of P'da Hau.

Rosanne Ibarra
Field Representative
Congressman Jarod Huffman
Inland Mendocino and Northern Sonoma Counties
559 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482

Dear Congressman Huffman,

The Board of Directors of Cloud Forest Institute encourage you to join us in wholeheartedly supporting the proposal by the Manchester Band of Pomo Indians of the Manchester/Point Arena Rancheria to change the name of the Garcia River back to it's ancestral, precolonial name of P'da Hau.

Attached you will read noteworthy research supporting the valid premise that the name change will not only bring positive awareness to surrounding non-Indian communities but will especially empower Native youth with a sense of cultural identity on and off the reservation.

We commend Sal Martinez and his committee for the diligence of their research and ask you to do everything in your power to support their proposal to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (USBGN).

Sincerely,

Cloud Forest Institute Board of Directors
 Dara Zimmerman, President
Lynda McClure, Secretary
Jenny Burnstad, Treasurer, Fiscal Director
Govinda Dalton
Charles Payne
Mike Garver

Dear Friends,

Ya’hwi tol ma’ odo (thank you for your time).

We write this letter to ask non-profit organizations to write letters of support to convince Congressman Jarod Huffman to support the proposal to change the name of the Garcia River (located on the northern border of the city limits of Point Arena, southern border of the city limits of Manchester, running through the reservation of the Manchester/Point Arena Rancheria and Stornetta farmlands) to its precolonial name P’da Haū.

The significance of this renaming is not primarily out of antiquity but of cultural preservation through ethno-geographic landscape unique to the region and the state of California, as well as the preservation of identity through language.

Herein, we will display the information available to us through local libraries, online sources, and independent studies of the Coast-Pomo dialect.

The name “Garcia” derives from the Mexican Land Grant holder Rafael Garcia1. He was granted nine leagues ranging from the Gualala River to Mal Paso (Irish Beach) by the Mexican government in 1844 for his services in the military, one of which was leading a defense at Mission San Rafael in 1822 against “hostile Indians”2. Little is known about Garcia and his treatment of Native people as his time in the region lasted less than a decade, and it was at that point California became part of the United States. Although according to Palmer3, Garcia’s “mayor domo” of the Rancho Del Norte, a Frenchman by the name of Charles A. Lauff, was reported to have accused an Indian servant of poisoning him with strychnine, lashing him to a tree, “turned him loose, with blood trickling down to his heels, and told him to run for his life as he intended to shoot him if possible.”

After Garcia’s claim was rejected by the California Land Commissions in 1852, and an appeal submitted to the US District Court of the Northern District of California, he sold the land to Don Jose Leandro Luco for the sum of $10,0004 and then permanently resided in Marin County.

Although USGS topographic maps from 1943 and other published maps as early as 1871 show “Garcia River”, an 1874 Geological Survey shows the stream was referred to as “Garcia Creek”. In The Cyclers’ Guide and Road Book of California published in 1896, the stream was labeled “Mud Creek”5.

It is unknown to us as to “who” was responsible for the naming of the river.

Prior to Rafael Garcia the name of the river was p’da haū: two words that identify the geographic feature where the river meets the ocean, meaning “mouth of the river”6 or “river open-mouth”7. Samuel A. Barrett, an anthropologists, reported that the original village of p’da haū was on the north bank of the river, north end of the wagon bridge connecting the highway that runs through the Stornetta lands, due north of Point Arena and Flumeville (Rollerville), a few miles upriver to the Manchester Rancheria8.  He also notes that when the Northern California Indian Association (NCIA) purchased 40 acres in 1902 a few hundred yards down the hill from a village called itce’tce, the Garcia River Rancheria (Manchester Rancheria) was also called p’da haū 9.

Barrett in his book Pomo Myths reveals one story of a man, dressed in all of his regalia, who walked into the ocean at the mouth of P’da Haū and was never seen again. The informant of the myth concluded that the man became makela-chameaning thunder being. Mabel Ball, a renowned elder of the Manchester Band of Pomo Indians, tells of her mother’s song expressing the time when a whale swam up the river10.

Unfortunately, the members of our elderly community do not recall such a name. We are lead to believe that the loss of this particular knowledge was due to the political and social pressures of the day to submit and assimilate to “white culture,” stemming from California legislation such as the 1850 “Act for the Government and Protection of Indians”11. Survival was a primary focus by working seasonal jobs for ranchers, providing for the common welfare of family, simultaneous with the continuity of Native religion, culture, and language as forms of self-preservation and hope. Despite this, members of our elderly community support our efforts.

The Tribal Council of the Manchester Band of Pomo Indians of the Manchester/Point Arena Rancheria, the City Council of Point Arena, Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, Bureau of Land Management (Ukiah Office), Pinoleville Pomo Nation, Redwood Valley-Little River Band of Pomo Indians, Potter Valley Tribe, Lytton Rancheria of California12, and members of our Facebook page: “Pda Hau! Not the Garcia River!” also supports our effort.

With your support, we hope that Congressman Huffman will come to support the proposal that will make the process and review of the name change through the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (US BGN) an even stronger impression for them to vote in favor of our proposal. Though the CACGN (California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names) voted 2 in favor and 3 against the P’da Haū proposal, because the name does not have “a one hundred year documentation” that predates “Garcia River” or ”longtime usage,” there is still a slim chance for the USBGN to vote in favor of the P’da Haū proposal.

If in favor of the P’da Haū proposal, please send letters of support to:

Rosanne Ibarra
Field Representative
Congressman Jarod Huffman
Inland Mendocino and Northern Sonoma Counties
559 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482
(707) 671-7449 fax: (707) 962-0905
Email: Rosanne.Ibarra@mail.house.gov

In addition, it is our strong belief that the name change will bring positive awareness to surrounding non-Indian communities and especially empower Native youth with a sense of identity off the reservation. Many, if not some, have suggested the name change begin with our casino currently named the Garcia River. We believe that by changing the name of a major geographic feature would better cause a ripple effect upon all communities rather than one, since our lives do extend off the reservation due to our dual citizenship as Americans and citizens of a Sovereign State.

Okanim maya
(blessings-prayers-protection to you all).

Sal Martinez & Isaac Rios
Citizens of the Manchester Band of Pomo Indians
Tribal Historians & Cultural Advocates


References
1. Palmer, Lyman L.; “History of Mendocino”; pg. 213
2. Nolte, Carle; “Treasure Trove of Tells Marin’s Early History”; online source
3. Palmer; pg. 368
4. Palmer; pg. 369
5. geonames.usgs.gov; Review List 421; pg. 4
6. Barrett, Samuel A.; “Ethnogeography of the Pomo and Their Neighbors”;
pg. 162-163
7. p’da (p-dah)- river; ha (hah)- mouth, haū (how)- open mouth
8. Barrett; pg. 164; p’da haū
9. Barrett; pg. 164; itcē’tcē
10. Mother’s name: Ethel Ball
11. “Early California Laws and California Indians”; www.library.ca.gov/crb/02/14/02-014.pdf
12. Report by Researcher Matthew O’Donnel of the US BGN; mjodonnell@usgs.gov